Sometime just before Christmas, I was invited to attend a ceremony at the Free Methodist Church in town. It is the church that we attend when we attend church, and it is the church that our children belong to. My daughter sings at Sunday morning worship services and my son handles some of the technical, computer stuff. He also occasionally plays in the band during services.
This ceremony that I was invited to attend took place in the evening and I don’t recall whether it was officially called a ‘Blessing’ ceremony or a ‘Healing’ ceremony. It was conducted by a visiting pastor and I believe it followed a period of special services at the church. I am not a regular attendee at church. It is very difficult and very painful for me to do a one hour service of basically remaining in one place and standing in one place during singing makes me begin to shake. I know it seems silly but it completely wipes me out. And 10:30 in the morning or even 11:00 is a time when I am still having some difficulties beginning to move most mornings.
Most evenings, however, are not much better. I made it to this ceremony. But I didn’t go for myself. I went with my daughter in mind because she was having many difficulties with her back and with her stomach and if healing was going to take place I wanted it to be with her. My condition can’t be healed and I am at peace with that. I know what lies ahead and I have accepted my fate. My child has her entire life ahead of her. She is far too young to have health problems and these need to be addressed.
Does God Hear My Prayers?
But I will also say this…I have had my issues with God and I am not sure he hears my prayers. From early on, to use a word most people dislike, my life has sucked. Childhood was filled with hardships that included poverty and divorce and unfortunately also included many incidents of sexual abuse. Escaping that life into a life of marriage also has been filled with many hardships and challenges. The death of our first child at a very young age, followed by a miscarriage, dealing with cancer, Keith’s heart attack, the RSD, having to stop working, financial problems. It has been quite overwhelming and with one thing on top of another, it often seems like God doesn’t care.
You hear that saying that He doesn’t give you more than you can handle and I think to myself, how tough does He think I am? Because I don’t think I’m that tough. Then I went to this ceremony. I had told a friend that I was at a point where I was really beginning to lose hope. I believe in the power of prayer, but it has never been my time to be heard. At the ceremony that night I didn’t ask for anything for myself. I only asked for my daughter to be well. Others asked for healing for me. We were both anointed, but I prayed only for her.
A few days later, I also received a prayer quilt from another church that my mother-in-law attends. The quilt, made by hand, was hung at the front of the church and members went to the front and said prayers for me as they tied the knots to hold the quilt together. That week, I heard from several people how I was added to their church prayer lists or was being prayed for by them and was being asked for healing. I knew in my heart that healing would not happen as my disease was incurable but how do you tell so many people their prayers are in vain? So I simply thanked them and said my prayers for my daughter.
Did I see a difference in my life shortly after the ceremony?
Others who attended that ceremony asked me if I had noticed any difference in my life shortly after the ceremony and I had to say no. But now, two months later, I am willing to say yes. I believe again and I have hope once again. I do believe that anointment helped heal me. My disease itself cannot be healed, but I was lead to Cleveland somehow, and it wasn’t until after the anointment that the letter came saying I had the surgery appointment.
It took courage and faith to undergo a surgery that my treating RSD doctor told me would not work. And when it did, so much of my soul was healed that I can not put into words. To be free of the pain that has crippled both my body and mind for so long can only be work guided by a surgeon with a gift from God. And to have the chance to undergo such surgery must also have been driven by almighty power. The pre-surgery success has given me the strength and faith to deal with the pain while I await the final surgery and it has also given me the hope that the second surgery will be as successful as the first at relieving that pain.
I know the disease will still progress, but the surgery will allow me to deal with it in a fairly normal way for a while longer. Pain-free might not happen but pain reduced surely will. And with physical therapy and medications, pain-free might actually be a reality. Oh, and my daughter? She hasn’t had to take any medication for her stomach since Christmastime and went from monthly appointments with the doctor to adjust her back to every other month.
“Truly, O God of Israel, Savior, you work in strange, mysterious ways.” Isaiah 45:15